“Chef Kay Hwang’s talent and technique is testament
that mastery of French cooking is not limited to French chefs”
UPDATE December 2014: This restaurant has permanently closed for business.
You wouldn’t expect to find an elegant French restaurant along busy Victoria Road in Drummoyne but behind the black iron grill gates, a humble neighbourhood restaurant might just be starting a quiet French Revolution.
Bastille refers to a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and was used as a state prison before being stormed by a crowd on 14 July 1789, becoming an important symbol for the French Revolution, thus giving rise to the French National Day known as Bastille Day.
With a kind invitation from Atticism PR, Chopinand and I are awakening to a modern take on French with subtle Korean twists.
Under the restrained hands of Korean chef Kay Hwang, French cooking technique is cleverly sprinkled with Korean flavours such as radish kimchi and ssam jang sauce to create an unexpected burst of flavours. Coupled with modern presentation, the food of BASTILLE is definitely pushing the boundaries.
We settle down and two glasses of Charles Collin champagne immediately arrive at the table. It is a refreshing easy drinking champagne with citrus and apple notes.
Chopinand and I are here after a frantic week and it was a relief not to have to battle crowds in a cramped city restaurant sitting shoulder to shoulder with the next couple and shouting over the dining table.
It’s one of those neighbourhood spaces that you can stroll in easily and have a relaxed meal with great food, attentive but unobtrusive service.
The menu and the selections are short with six entrees, five mains and three desserts but what it lacks in variety, it makes up for in flavours.
A citrus cured ocean trout is smoky with tangy citrusy notes and subtle chilli glaze yet the meat is soft and yielding. With a swoosh of creme friache, drops of yuzu jelly and basil oil, this is a well-balanced dish that shows technique and respect for the produce.
Goat cheese sphere is a chilled quenelle of goat cheese lightened with creme fraiche cradled in a nest of crispy shredded potato sprinkled with flowers.
We spread the goat cheese on crispy croutons and it becomes elegant finger food with our champagne.
We enjoy both entrees so much that we request to try a third – the scallops and aren’t we glad!
Five plump scallops arrive, barely seared with their natural textures and juices still intact, enhanced with a smooth cauliflower puree, rich almond emulsion and a disc of crunchy lettuce.
It’s hard to tell the modern culinary leanings in the kitchen of this family-friendly dining space.
There is a relaxed sunny outdoor terrace, with wooden chairs strewn with bright cushions and a wall of potted plants. This al fresco setting is perfect for families or large groups on warm summer evenings.
Inside, a dark and cosy lounge beckons with its luxurious black and white banquettes for pre-dinner drinks with white tablecloths, plush carpets, gold and white wallpaper in the main dining room.
Chopinand loves his beef and we are eyeing the chateaubriand 500gm Cape Grim tenderloin for two ($72) at the next table. It looks enticing ~ a juicy blush pink log of eye fillet paired with chunky hand cut chips and a refreshing garden salad.
But we decide to be adventurous and try interesting selections.
My smoked duck breast has just the right amount of smoke, still tender and juicy on the inside and bursting with flavour.
Instead of the classic duck l’orange, it comes with compressed pear steeped in white wine vinegar, king brown mushroom, pea cream and topped with a small log of white chocolate, a surprising touch that works harmoniously.
I’ve had many duck dishes and this is easily one of the best I’ve had. My only gripe is the skin could have been rendered just before serving to give it a crisp edge.
Chopinand‘s fillet mignon is a classic French, seared and served with a creamy pomme purée.
The fillet is soft like a pillow complemented by a rich bordelaise sauce and topped with small precious chunks of bone marrow.
“If I ever get to Seoul, I want to eat French food” Chopinand jokes. “The chef’s technique on this dish is exquisite” he adds.
But what we couldn’t get enough of is the French fries – crispy shoe string fries that is absolutely addictive.
“I can eat a whole bowl of this!” Chopinand said and he nearly did!
Crisp on the outside with a hot and creamy centre, these chips are sprinkled with parsley and parmesan with its wonderfully pungent aromas.
I resist, saving room for dessert and it was worth it!
A meringue comes with chocolate brioche on a colourful bed of strawberry sauce and piquant pineapple sphere, yet another innovative combination.
A raspberry crisp is like a badge of honour that seals the talent and technique of chef Hwang.
A chocolate tart is luxurious and silky smooth, served with rich hazelnut praline and a tart raspberry sauce.
Blood orange cake isn’t just a slice of cake on a plate.
It comes deconstructed, with pistachio sauce, vanilla ice cream, mango and cherry sorbet and sprinkled with a row of pop rocks that dances in your mouth.
French food this good and innovative, it’s hard to find a relaxed yet and enjoyable experience that doesn’t cost the earth. BASTILLE is one such find.
Chef Kay Hwang‘s talent and technique is testament that mastery of French cooking is not limited to French chefs.
And if you’ve had a little too much to drink, there’s a complimentary pick up and drop off service in a Porsche Cayenne to surrounding suburbs! Now that’s a French-German connection that’s hard to beat!
So dear readers, do you prefer a nice and cozy neighbourhood restaurant with good food or prefer hip and trendy city restaurants where the crowd may not necessarily be there just for the food?
ChopinandMysaucepan dined courtesy of Atticism PR and BASTILLE. Prices are included for readers’ information. All views and opinions are our own and based on our dining experience on the day.
105 Victoria road
Drummoyne, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9819 7713
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, Wednesday & Thursday 6pm to late, Friday to Saturday 12pm to late, Sunday 12pm to 10pm.